There are a number of former champions fighting over the course of the next few weeks. One opened as a favorite, while two are sitting in the underdog role.
The lone favorite
First up, at UFC on ESPN+ 19, Joanna Jedrzejczyk took on Michelle Waterson on October 12. The former queen pin of the strawweight division came into the contest as a massive favorite. The Reebok brand name sponsored athlete sat at a -410 favorite, while “The Karate Hottie” a +330 underdog. The odds did reflect well, the contest was outstanding, but Jedrzejczyk did end up coming out on top.
The pride of Poland is now 2-3 in her last five fights. This comes after going 14-0 and defending the strawweight championship an impressive five times. Jedrzejczyk lost back to back fights to Rose Namajunas and most recently lost to Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant flyweight championship at UFC 231. Waterson won three in a row to earn her shot at the former champ.
Bring on the underdogs
Just one week later at UFC on ESPN 6, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will be an underdog against Dominick Reyes in their bout.
Weidman lost his middleweight championship at UFC 194 in 2015 and has since only fought three times, going 1-4. His lone victory came to Kelvin Gastelum in 2017. Injury has not been friendly to Weidman being forced out of a number of fights and not being active since late 2018. The former champion comes into the Reyes bout as a +135 underdog.
Reyes opens as a -155 favorite and is undefeated at 11-0 in his MMA career. He joined the UFC in 2017 and has amassed a 5-0 inside the Octagon.
Odds on MacDonald vs. Lima
At Bellator 232, Rory MacDonald will come into his Douglas Lima fight as a +150 underdog from many online oddsmakers like ComeOn. The Canadian has not seen underdog status on very many occasions in his mixed martial arts career, however likely won’t be fazed by it.
MacDonald beat Lima by unanimous decision to earn the Bellator welterweight championship at Bellator 192 in January 2018. Since that blemish, Lima has won two in a row. Both victories came via stoppage and this earned him -170 favorite status.
So being a former champion has no bearing on the odds of a fight. However, we all know that underdogs can steal the show, so keep it locked to your television over the course of the next three weeks to see how these fights play out.